Today’s interview is with Nan Dixon, a rare double-finalist in Romance Writers of America’s 2013 Golden Heart® contest for unpublished manuscripts. This is the premier contest (worldwide) for writers of the romance genre. Clean Sweep a finalist in the Contemporary Single Title category, and Southern Comforts a finalist in the Contemporary Series category. Welcome, Nan!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My hubby, I, Waldo the cat, and one of my five children live in a suburb of Saint Paul. (We will be empty-nesters when he heads off to Chiropractic school next fall.) I’m first generation; my father was born in Canada but moved to Minnesota when he was young. He met my mother in England during WWII. I’ve been an actress, singer and dancer. I love to ski, both water and snow, and was the captain of the University of Minnesota golf team. I’m ecstatic that I’m no longer consumed by the world of business where I was financial executive at a pharmaceutical company. I’m the president of my local RWA chapter – Midwest Fiction Writers, and the Treasurer of a local dance company. Until I received an offer of representation from Laura Bradford last fall, I was a contest junkie. I received the Contest Diva tiara for the 2009 contest year most finals—18. (It’s so shiny and pretty.)
Tell us about your manuscripts that finalled in RWA’s Golden Heart® contest!
In Clean Sweep, Undercover Boss meets Music and Lyrics when Kate MacBain is forced to clean houses. This dedicated executive plans to be CEO of the family business—not a maid or even a girlfriend. But Alex, a composer with writer’s block, refuses to be swept out of her life.
In Southern Comforts, Gray, a cynical Boston developer falls for Abigail’s brandy pecan bars and then Abigail, but is the struggling Savannah B&B owner attracted to Gray—or his money?
How do you feel about the Golden Heart® experience?
This is my third time to the dance, and I’m so excited. The Lucky 13s are such a fun group and I will get to see the Unsinkables and Starcatchers at the conference. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be a princess for a week? This year will be different; I won’t be out stalking agents and editors like in prior years. (Last year, I went home from the conference with 8 requests.) I have the wonderful Laura Bradford as an agent and I am out on submission with a non-Golden Heart manuscript.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories? And/or for this story, in particular?
The idea for Southern Comforts came from a trip I took to Savannah with my sisters. (I have 3) We take an annual trip together and one sister is social director. (No one knows where we are going but the social director.) I picked Savannah and Tybee Island and we had a ball. I thought it fun it would be to write about 4 sisters trying to make a B&B out of the Fitzgerald family mansion and of course they are struggling with money.
I can’t remember where the idea came from for Clean Sweep, but again it is based on a family, the MacBains are Minneapolis real estate moguls. There are three brothers and one sister in the family and Clean Sweep is Kate’s story.
The ideas for my stories seem to come when I’m driving. And that is the only reason I miss working. I used to do a lot of brainstorming on my up to an hour commute. (I used to travel over the 35W bridge that went down. But that near miss is probably the subject of another blog.)
What has your writing journey been like?
I was a closet writer for years and years and years. (I was the dancer, singer, athlete in the family. My mother and sister were the writers/poets.) I wrote five hot mess novels before starting to learn the craft. Then I took classes, joined two critique groups, and with their help, starting finalling in contests. The second year I entered the Golden Heart, Steel Hearts was a finalist in Single Title.
What’s your ideal writing environment?
As a mother five kids, I have the ability to concentrate through chaos. I have an office (one of the kid’s bedrooms), but I can write on planes, in cars (where I am cleaning up this blog), at the beach and in front of the TV.
How can fans reach you?
Thank you, Nan, for visiting Leslie Lynch Writes – and we wish you the very best in your publishing future! Is there anything you’d like to add?
I believe in the 10,000 hour concept, that it takes that long to become an expert. (I think I’m edging up on 7,500 hours of writing. Yes, I keep a log!) How long have you been writing?